I'm Starting to Like This Pope

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:17 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: China–Vatican Deal
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Cafeteria anti-Catholicism: Trump, the Vatican and China [In-Depth, Opinion]
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If the Vatican made human rights compliance a precondition of its engagement with other States, it would not only lose all influence in the world: it couldn't have relations with the United States.

The US presidential campaign seems at times to have become an almost intra-Catholic affair, especially after President Donald Trump nominated a Catholic to be the next Justice on the Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Amy Coney Barrett would be the sixth of the nine justices who are members of the Catholic Church. A seventh justice, Neil Gorsuch, was baptized and raised Catholic.

[…]

Mike Pompeo attacks the Vatican's policy on China

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets top Vatican officials this week in Rome — Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See's Secretary of State; and British Archbishop Paul Gallagher who, as deputy Secretary for Relations with States, is Pompeo's counterpart.

One person Pompeo will not meet when he goes to the Vatican is Pope Francis.

The pope must avoid any appearance that he is being used for political purposes just a few weeks before a presidential election. But he must also avoid being entangled in the serious crisis in the transatlantic relations that have to do with China.

Mr. Pompeo mounted an unprecedented attack against the sovereignty of the Holy See in an article published September 18 in the conservative Catholic magazine First Things.

[…]

Lecturing the Vatican's savviest diplomats

In the presence of Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Gallagher, who were seated in the front row, he lectured the Vatican on John Paul II's understanding of religious freedom and then contrasted Pope Francis' strategy on China with the late Polish pope's strategy on Communism.

The top US diplomat's unprecedented attack against the Vatican has gone largely unnoticed in the United States. Part of that is because the country's Catholic bishops have been reluctant to criticize White House foreign policy.

[…]

But Pompeo's attack has not gone unnoticed in Rome, where top representatives have already signaled that the 2018 Vatican-China deal is likely to be renewed. And in the rest of the world, many Catholics see this as Trump's top diplomat violating the freedom of the Holy See.

Pompeo's article was just another of the many symptoms of the disruption of the international order and of the erratic behavior of US foreign policy under president Trump.

[…]

Vatican diplomacy has never been concerned with regime change

It is fair to say that there are now more critical voices against the Vatican-China deal — both inside the Church and out — than there were in 2018.

Vatican diplomats are walking a very fine line. But Holy See diplomacy with authoritarian governments in majority non-Christian countries has always been about finding a way to let local Catholic communities survive in extremely challenging times. It has never been about regime change.

Being a Catholic Church in today's global world means difficult choices. The Holy See and the papacy have limited options in China.

But what Secretary Pompeo did not consider — or what he has chosen to ignore — is that the Holy See and the pope stand as a sovereign entity.

Trump and Pompeo do not really care about the ability of the Catholic Church to pressure governments on human rights.

Just look at Pompeo's pressure on the Vatican from a non-US point of view and one acquires quite a different perspective.

For instance, Christians in the Middle East could reasonably ask what sort of impact the forging of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Washington in 1984 has had on US foreign policy in their part of the world.

If the Vatican made human rights compliance a precondition of its engagement with other States, it would not only lose all influence in the world: it couldn't have relations with the United States.

Integral to the context of Secretary Pompeo's attack on Holy See diplomacy is the fact that a majority of those critical of the Vatican-China deal come from the United States.

And any of these are US Catholics that have been critical of Pope Francis' pontificate on a range of theological and moral issues since the very first months of his tenure in 2013.

A dangerous and cynical game

But, let's be clear, the Trump administration has no moral or theological concerns about the Vatican-China. Its interest is purely political.

This is another example of the administration's cynical use of religion for political purposes.

[…]

This is a very dangerous game. And Catholics — especially those in the United States — should reject it or at least be aware of its long-term costs.

The Holy See is a subject of international law and an active participant in international relations. In the last century there have been repeated attempts, especially by the United States and others, to reduce its role to being "chaplain" of the western hemisphere.

Even during the Cold War, the Holy See was very aware that an alignment with the United States would be dangerous for the future of the Catholic Church. This awareness has served well Vatican diplomacy ever since, included under Pope Francis.

The Holy See: the world's oldest diplomatic service

This is one way to explain the Vatican's silence on the "Abraham Accords" between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel, which was signed in Washington on September 15 under the auspices of the Trump administration.

The Holy See has the oldest diplomatic service in the world and enjoys relations with almost all countries around the globe.

It is also a permanent observer to many international organizations. It rightly views as unseemly any attempts to reduce its international role to that of handmaid of the foreign policy of another country.

And that position is even more firmly held by Francis, a Jesuit from Argentina who has reoriented the geopolitics of the Catholic Church from a firm anchoring in Europe and North America towards the global south and Asia.

It is extraordinary that during the last few weeks of a presidential campaign, the US Secretary of State would try to put pressure on the diplomacy of the Holy See and the manner in which he did so — in the pages of a magazine like First Things that has been the most influential and best connected voice of the high-brow and intellectual — yet virulent — anti-Francis sentiment in the Anglosphere.

But the Holy See has never shown much interest in looking like it was following the orders of Washington or of any foreign government, especially when these orders are formulated in public and at a sensitive time.

It is a lesson in independence that the papacy learned the hard way exactly 150 years ago — on September 20, 1870 — with the fall of the Papal States after ten centuries of existence.

The US Catholic bishops: silent and afraid

[…]

In America we constantly hear loud and cheap cries of "anti-Catholicism", levied, for example, against those who want to ask some questions about the religious views of a Catholic judge likely to serve for decades on the highest court of a multicultural and multi-religious country.

But this anti-Catholic cry has remained mute when the top diplomat of the Trump administration threatens the freedom of the pope and Vatican diplomacy in an unprecedented way.

Conservative Catholics in the United States coined the expression "cafeteria Catholicism" to accuse liberals of picking and choosing what they like from the menu of Catholic teaching.

Now it has become clear that there also exists a cafeteria anti-Catholicism, where conservative Catholics choose from the menu of anti-Catholicism what they find ideologically expedient.

This criticism of papal diplomacy must be read in the context of the history of anti-papal rhetoric in American history and of the contempt that the peculiar ecumenism of the alliance between white Evangelicals and conservative Catholics has shown towards Pope Francis since 2013.

Communion with the pope and the global Catholic community are conditional, because the domestic political agenda of one political party always trumps ecclesiology.

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:17 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128

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Pope signs new Encyclical "Fratelli tutti" on St Francis's tomb in Assisi
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Pope Francis signs the new Encyclical "Fratelli Tutti"

On the anniversary of St Francis of Assisi's death, Pope Francis celebrates Mass before the Saint's tomb and signs his Encyclical "Fratelli tutti".

Pope Francis went on Saturday to Assisi for the fifth time during his pontificate. There he signed his new Encyclical Fratelli tutti, before the tomb of St Francis of Assisi, after celebrating Holy Mass.

The Encyclical on fraternity and social friendship was inspired by St Francis, as was the Pope’s second Encyclical, Laudato si’, on the care of our common home, published five years ago.

The Pope traveled to Assisi by car. On the way, the Pope paid a visit to the Monastery of Vallegloria in Spello. Once he reached Assisi, the Pope paid a brief visit to the Protomonastery of Saint Clare and greeted the Poor Clare nuns.

On hand to greet Pope Francis when he arrived in Assisi at were: the Bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, Domenico Sorrentino; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the pontifical legate for the Basilicas of St Francis and St Mary of the Angels in Assisi; the guardian of the Franciscan Friary, also known as the Sacro Convento, Fr Mauro Gambetti; and Father Enzo Fortunato, spokesperson for the Franciscan Friary.

About 20 friars and a few women religious were present for the celebration of Holy Mass which took place in the crypt of the 13th century Basilica which houses St Francis’s remains.

After the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Father spent several minutes in silent reflection and then continued the celebration of Mass.

Signing of the Encyclical

At the conclusion of Mass, Pope Francis invited Msgr Paolo Braida to bring the copies of the Encylical to be signed. He then explained that Msgr Braida handles the translations in the First Section of the Secretariat of State. "He oversees everything", the Pope continued. "This is why I wanted him to be present here, today, and that he should bring the Encyclical to me".

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:21 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
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Pope Francis closes the door on the death penalty in ‘Fratelli Tutti’ [In-Depth]
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Pope Francis blesses a prisoner as he visits the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia in this Sept. 27, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, does something that some Catholics believed could not be done: It ratifies a change in church teaching. In this case, on the death penalty.

In 2018, Pope Francis ordered a change in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official compendium of church teaching, when he termed the death penalty “inadmissible.” Today the pope placed the full weight of his teaching authority behind this statement: The death penalty is inadmissible, and Catholics should work for its abolition. A papal encyclical is one of the highest of all documents in terms of its authority, removing any lingering doubt about the church’s belief.

“There can be no stepping back from this position,” says Francis, referring to the opposition to capital punishment expressed by St. John Paul II. “Today we state clearly that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible’ and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide.”

[…]

In past centuries, the church was generally accepting of the death penalty. Both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas declared it licit not only for the sake of punishment, but also as a way for the state to protect itself, ideas that took hold in the church and influenced civil society. In the Roman Catechism, written after the Council of Trent in the 16th century, the church supported the death penalty for those two reasons: “Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent.”

As recently as the 1990s, the Catechism of the Catholic Church said that the state could still use capital punishment to protect people from violent criminals: “The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.”

In 1995, however, in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, St. John Paul II tightened the restrictions, saying that the times that the state needed to use capital punishment to protect other citizens were “very rare, if not practically non-existent.” Four years later, he called for its abolition. So did Pope Benedict XVI, in 2011. The door to the death penalty was gradually closing. Today it was shut. It is a clear example of the development of doctrine over the centuries.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:58 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Fratelli Tutti
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Pope’s new encyclical offers ‘voter’s guide’ for post-pandemic world [In-Depth]
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Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Francis, in Assisi, Italy, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. Pope Francis travelled to the homeland of his nature-loving namesake on Saturday to sign an encyclical laying out his vision of a post-COVID world built on solidarity, fraternity and care for the environment. In his first outing from Rome since the coronavirus lockdown, Francis celebrated Mass on Saturday in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Francis in the Umbrian hilltop town of Assisi. (Credit: Vatican Media via AP)

ASSISI, Italy — Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, outlines his recipe for rebuilding a post-pandemic world, beginning with a complete restructuring of politics and civil discourse in order to create systems prioritizing the community and the poor, rather than individual or market interests.

At nearly 300 pages, the document is essentially Francis’s own “voter’s guide” for the immediate future as the world makes critical choices in the aftermath of the coronavirus.

Though Francis’s vision is clearly global, the pope’s words pack a clear punch for the United States, which next month will hold presidential elections at the end of a contentious and even hostile political campaign.

[…]

Social aggression

In Francis’s view, a growing sense of “shameless aggression” is a fault for today’s increasingly polarized global culture.

“Even as individuals maintain their comfortable consumerist isolation, they can choose a form of constant and febrile bonding that encourages remarkable hostility, insults, abuse, defamation and verbal violence destructive of others,” he says in paragraph 44 of the text, noting that this is often accompanied by a “lack of restraint “that could not exist in physical contact without tearing us all apart.”

[…]

The problem with politics

In terms of today’s political scene, Pope Francis throughout the encyclical urges a universal re-thinking of political virtue and vice, restating his disdain for modern populism and liberalist tendencies.

In chapter five of the document, which is dedicated ”a better kind of politics” and includes his critique of populism and liberalism, Francis laments that in many parts of the world, “a concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests.”

Lack of concern for the poor and vulnerable “can hide behind a populism that exploits them demagogically for its own purposes, or a liberalism that serves the economic interests of the powerful,” he said, noting that in both cases, “it becomes difficult to envisage an open world that makes room for everyone, including the most vulnerable, and shows respect for different cultures.”

Pope Francis argues that tossing around the terms “populist” and “populism” so frequently have made them lose their meaning.

[…]

Neoliberalism, he said, “simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of ‘spillover’ or ‘trickle’ — without using the name — as the only solution to societal problems,” with little recognition of the fact that this alleged spillover “does not resolve the inequality that gives rise to new forms of violence threatening the fabric of society.”

“It is imperative,” he said, “to have a proactive economic policy directed at promoting an economy that favors productive diversity and business creativity and makes it possible for jobs to be created and not cut.”

The pope advocated creation of “stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions” in light of what he said is a current “weakening” of nation states, insisting that the personalities in charge of these entities must be “fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions.”

In this sense, he backed the United Nations, saying its charter is “a fundamental juridical norm” which, when observed and applied “with transparency and sincerity, is an obligatory reference point of justice and a channel of peace.”

However, he said the U.N. is also in need of reform “so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.”

He also voiced preference for multilateral agreements, saying “preference should be given to multilateral agreements between states, because, more than bilateral agreements, they guarantee the promotion of a truly universal common good and the protection of weaker states.”

Immigration, Racism, War and the Death Penalty

Since his election to the papacy in 2013, immigration has been a key policy issue for Pope Francis. In Fratelli Tutti, he rolled out his vision for a universal immigration plan based on the concept of “social property” outlined by St. John Paul II in his 1991 social encyclical, Centesius Annus, whereby the earth belongs to the whole of humanity, rather than certain countries or individuals.

In terms of what this means for immigration police, Francis said the common destination of the earth’s goods must also be applied to nations, as well as their territories and resources.

Seen from this perspective, he said, “we can then say that each country also belongs to the foreigner, inasmuch as a territory’s goods must not be denied to a needy person coming from elsewhere.”

[…]

Political charity

Though Pope Francis’s general evaluation of today’s current political and social climate is grim, he touts “political charity” as a solution which he believes can break down hostility and foster a greater sense of universal brotherhood.

“If someone helps an elderly person cross a river, that is a fine act of charity. The politician, on the other hand, builds a bridge, and that too is an act of charity,” he said. “While one person can help another by providing something to eat, the politician creates a job for that other person, and thus practices a lofty form of charity that ennobles his or her political activity.”

Calling this form of social charity the “spiritual heart of politics,” Francis stressed that it is always expressed as a preferential love for the poor and those most in need.

[…]

In the end, Francis’s alternative is an ethic of human fraternity.

“At a time when various forms of fundamentalist intolerance are damaging relationships between individuals, groups and peoples,” he said, “let us be committed to living and teaching the value of respect for others, a love capable of welcoming differences, and the priority of the dignity of every human being over his or her ideas, opinions, practices and even sins.”

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:07 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129

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Cardinal says Pope's new encyclical is a warning: The world is 'on the brink' [In-Depth]
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In this Oct. 4, 2019 file photo Pope Francis ordains bishop Michael Czerny, as he celebrates a mass during which he conferred the ordination to four bishops in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Bishop Czerny is among 13 men Pope Francis admires, resembles and has chosen to honor as the 13 newest cardinals who will be elevated at a formal ceremony Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

One of Pope Francis’s top advisers said that the pontiff sees the current world situation comparable to that of the Cuban missile crisis, World War II, or 9/11 — and that to fully understand the papal encyclical released on Sunday, it’s necessary to acknowledge “we’re on the brink.”

“Depending on your age, what was it like to hear Pius XII deliver his Christmas messages during World War II?” said Cardinal Michael Czerny on Monday. “Or how did it feel when Pope John XXIII published Pacem in Terris? Or after the 2007/2008 crisis, or after 9/11? I think you need to recover that feeling in your stomach, in your whole being, to appreciate Fratelli Tutti.”

“I think Pope Francis feels today the world needs a message comparable to what we needed during the Cuban missile crisis, or World War II or 9/11 or the big crash of 2007/2008,” he said. “We’re on the brink. We need to pull back in a very human, worldwide and local way. I think that’s one way to get into Fratelli Tutti.”

Fratelli Tutti is the encyclical the Argentine pope released on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, after signing it the previous day in the Italian town where the Franciscan saint lived most of his life.

According to the cardinal, if Pope Francis’s previous encyclical, Laudato Si’, on the care of creation, “taught us that everything is connected, Fratelli Tutti teaches us that everyone is connected.”

“If we take responsibility for our common home and for our brothers and sisters, then I think that we do have a good chance, and my hope is re-kindled and inspired to keep on going and do more,” he said.

[…]

The Czechoslovakian-born Canadian cardinal was accompanied by Sister Nancy Schreck, former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious; Edith Avila Olea, an immigrant advocate in Chicago and is a board member of Bread for the World; and Claire Giangravé, the Vatican correspondent for Religion News Service (and former Crux culture correspondent).

“Many people today have a loss of hope and are afraid because there’s so much collapse, and the dominant culture tells us to work harder, work harder, do much of the same,” said Schreck. “What’s so delightful for me in this letter is that Pope Francis provides us with an alternative way to look into what’s going on in our lives, and that something new can emerge in this moment.”

The religious also said that Fratelli Tutti is an invitation to see one another as a “neighbor, as a friend, to build relationships,” particularly needed at a time when the world feels so politically divided, as it helps heal the divide.

As a Franciscan, she gave the example of St. Francis visiting the Muslim Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil during the Crusades, back when the “dominant thought was to kill the other.”

[…]

She also said that the “genius” part of Fratelli Tutti in terms of the economy is “who is my neighbor, and how do I treat those who are cast aside by a system that generates people who are poor.”

“In many parts of the world, our current financial model is in the benefit of a few and the exclusion or destruction of the many,” Schreck said. “I think that we have to keep building bonds of relationship between those who have resources and those who don’t. It’s relationships what guide our thinking: We can have abstract economic theories, but they start to take hold when we see the impact that they have on people.”

Czerny argued that it’s not the role of Church leaders, not even the pope, to “tell us how to run our economy or our politics.” However, the pope can guide the world towards certain values, and this is what the pope does in his latest encyclical, issuing a reminder that the economy cannot be in the driver’s seat of politics.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:25 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Fratelli Tutti
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As Vatican faces financial review, pope condemns ‘idolatry’ of neoliberal economy [In-Depth]
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Pope Francis delivers his blessing in the Paul VI hall on the occasion of the weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME — Pope Francis Thursday condemned the prioritizing of money over people and touted several steps the Holy See has taken to ensure financial transparency.

The pope was speaking to representatives of Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering watchdog, who are in Rome conducting its annual review of the Vatican, following a year of money-related scandals.

The pope thanked them for the visit, saying their work is “dear to my heart” because it is closely tied to “the protection of life, the peaceful coexistence of the human race on earth, and a financial system that does not oppress those who are weakest and in greatest need.”

“It is all linked together,” he said, and pointed to his new encyclical Fratelli Tutti, in which he condemned neoliberal economic structures as having failed in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus, calling for resources to be invested in development in impoverished countries to end hunger and assure citizens of a dignified life, rather than in “fear or nuclear, chemical and biological threats.”

Catholic social teaching, he said, “has underscored the error of the neoliberal dogma which holds that the economic and moral orders are so completely distinct from one another that the former is in no way dependent on the latter.”

“In light of the present circumstances, it would seem that the worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose,” he said, insisting that “financial speculation fundamentally aimed at quick profit continues to wreak havoc.”

Francis’s remarks echo sentiments expressed in Fratelli Tutti, published Oct. 4, and in which he argued that in many countries, “a concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests.”

[…]

The Moneyval representatives are in Rome to review the Holy See’s efforts to fight money laundering and financial terrorism. The review comes after a year of financial scandal that has left many wondering whether the Vatican might be blacklisted, meaning it would be frozen out of international markets and could face higher financial transaction costs.

[…]

Speaking to Moneyval representatives, Pope Francis stressed that policies meant to counter money laundering and terrorism “are a means of monitoring movements of money and of intervening in cases where irregular or even criminal activities are detected.”

Referring to the Gospel passage in which Jesus drove merchants from the temple, he said that “once the economy loses its human face, then we are no longer served by money, but ourselves become servants of money.”

“This is a form of idolatry against which we are called to react by reestablishing the rational order of things, which appeals to the common good whereby money must serve, not rule,” he said.

[…]

Pope Francis closed Thursday’s remarks by thanking Moneyval reps for “the service you provide,” saying the measures and structures they are evaluating are designed to promote “a clean finance, in which the merchants are prevented from speculating in that sacred temple which, in accordance with the Creator’s plan of love, is humanity.”

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:01 am

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129

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Four theologians on the biggest takeaways from ‘Fratelli Tutti’ [In-Depth]
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Pope Francis signs his new encyclical, "Fratelli Tutti," after celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi on Oct. 3, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Editor’s note: As part of our larger coverage of “Fratelli Tutti,” the latest encyclical letter from Pope Francis, America asked a number of theologians and church experts to contribute a brief response, including their perspectives on its potential impact and its particular areas of import.

============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

❧ A Call to Discern the Depths of Our Politics

With the release of every encyclical, there is a rush to assess what is new and noteworthy, to find the most media-worthy and tweetable lines. There are plenty of these in “Fratelli Tutti”: forceful critiques of the divisive effects of capitalism and technology, an unambiguous magisterial rejection of the death penalty and what is perhaps the church’s most sustained denunciation of nationalism and populism since “Mit Brennender Sorge” in 1937. But focusing on those passages that stand out can lead one to miss the work of the whole.

“Fratelli Tutti” is carefully constructed in a way that reveals a distinctive aspect of Pope Francis’ papal ministry. Yes, it powerfully exhorts Christians to pursue the intimacy of social friendship rather than the disposability and indifference of contemporary capitalism or the violent exclusion of populist nationalism. Much deeper than an argument or catechesis, however, the encyclical is a work of spiritual discernment.

[…]

In this mode of discernment, “Fratelli Tutti” lands forcefully in our politics. Francis’ portrayals of unhealthy populism could be lifted from contemporary campaign events. The word “walls” appears 14 times as a symbol of our temptation to shut ourselves off from the needs of others. Francis’ reassertion of the inadmissibility of the death penalty and his call for its abolition ends not with anathemas but in a pastoral voice: “I ask Christians who remain hesitant on this point, and those tempted to yield to violence in any form” to enter into biblical stories that find their fullest expression in Jesus’ order to a disciple to “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

Here again, Francis does not flatten this into a moral prohibition, but presents it as an action “from Jesus’ heart” which speaks to the present “as an enduring appeal” to which we must each decide how we will respond. In some quarters of the church, social doctrine is relegated to the peripheries of Christian concern; here Francis shows it flows from the heart of the Gospel. In “Fratelli Tutti,” Francis speaks to a polarized church and calls us not simply to correct our politics but to discern the profound spiritual stakes in their depths.

[Vincent Miller is Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton. He is the author of Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture.]

❧ Lessons From “Fratelli Tutti” for the Contemporary United States

With carefully observed detail, “Fratelli Tutti” speaks to the chaos, fear and loss that pervade 2020 while sounding a timeless call to become better citizens of our communities, our nations and the globe. Without limiting the future the document envisions, I see three particular challenges to Catholics in the United States.

With “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis calls U.S. Catholics to:

Break our addiction to retributive violence. Most U.S. Catholics know the church has long opposed the death penalty. In “Fratelli Tutti,” Francis calls us to reject more forms of retributive violence that are endemic throughout the United States, including life sentences and what he calls “extrajudicial killings.” As a U.S. resident in the year 2020, I heard Francis speak to our reality when he condemns “homicides deliberately committed by certain states and by their agents, often passed off as clashes with criminals or presented as the unintended consequences of the reasonable, necessary and proportionate use of force in applying the law.” What person can read this and not immediately think of police killings of unarmed persons, disproportionately Black, brown or mentally ill, actions which police, their unions and their supporters try to rationalize just as the pope describes? Francis correctly diagnoses these extrajudicial killings as unnecessary to keep people safe and as profound violations of universal human dignity.

Accept church teaching on the economy and its purposes. Francis breaks no new ground here but reiterates at least two traditional church views not widely accepted in the United States. One goes back to the earliest Christians: The right to private property is not absolute but subordinate to the greater truth that the goods of the earth are intended for all. As I tell my students, as long as there is need, the church questions your right to have more than you need — never mind if you earned it. Another church teaching on the economy that many Americans have yet to fully accept is that the market cannot be expected to solve all our problems. Francis calls this a “dogma of neoliberal faith.”

Value politics for what it can be, rather than what it is. Pope Francis acknowledges that many people today distrust politics, often for good reasons. Like all of us, politicians fail in universal love: “Things that until a few years ago could not be said by anyone without risking the loss of universal respect can now be said with impunity, and in the crudest of terms, even by some political figures.” Violent nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise in many countries, showing that we do not yet understand what it means to be a universal human community. And yet Francis sees an active and vital role for politics in the journey toward universal fraternity and social peace.

[…]

[Kate Ward is an assistant professor of theological ethics at Marquette University. Her research and teaching focus on economic ethics, virtue ethics and ethical method.]

❧ Just War No More?

In his new encyclical “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis has taken another big step toward distancing the Catholic Church from its traditional support for just war theory. He writes, “It is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war’.”

[…]

“Fratelli Tutti” goes about as far as one can go toward critiquing the notion of just war without rejecting it wholesale. Perhaps the church’s stand on war today might be compared to its position on the death penalty in the 1980s — the beginning of incremental policy steps and statements that may eventually likewise make the idea of a just war “inadmissable.”

The pope seems to have come to recognize that while in principle a war may be rationally justifiable, as a matter of practice the abuse of the just war tradition and the realities of modern warfare make it impossible to wage a just war today. The sweep of Francis’ skepticism can be seen in his dismissal of “allegedly humanitarian, defensive and precautionary excuses” for making war. It would appear this even includes interventions based on what has become known as the international “responsibility to protect” noncombatant or defenseless communities. (“Precautionary principles” are what international humanitarian lawyers call just war norms.)

[…]

[Drew Christiansen, S.J., former editor-in-chief of America, is a Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Human Development at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Ethics and World Affairs.]

❧ Footnoting Fraternity: The Style and Sources of “Fratelli Tutti”

Papal footnotes signal to the reader how an official church text is building on the church’s tradition. Footnotes help to illuminate the breadth and the depth of the Catholic tradition, rooting the doctrinal insights on contemporary issues in a centuries-old conversation.

Before Pope Francis, recognized sources were limited almost exclusively to biblical texts, the previous popes and the insights of saints. With “Laudato Si’,” Francis widened the conversation partners to include references to non-Christian sources, including a Sufi Muslim mystic, contemporary theologians and teachings from national bishops’ conferences.

With “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis again reflects a wider conversation. …

[…]

[Kevin Ahern is a theological ethicist and president of the Catholic lay movement ICMICA-Pax Romana. He is an associate professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, where he also directed the labor studies program.]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:59 am

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Subject Header: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty
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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:58 pm

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Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Fratelli Tutti
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In TED Talk, Pope says time is running out to fix economy, protect Earth
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Pope Francis speaks in a recorded message for the TED event, "Countdown," in this still frame from a video released by the Vatican Oct. 10, 2020. The pope joined the global virtual event in support of solutions to climate change. (Credit: CNS photo/Vatican Press Office.)

ROME — The predominant global economic system is “unsustainable,” particularly in its impact on the environment, Pope Francis said.

“We are faced with the moral imperative — and the practical urgency — to rethink many things” about the economy: “How we produce, how we consume, our culture of waste, its short-term vision, the exploitation of the poor, indifference toward them, the increase of inequality and its dependence on harmful energy sources,” the pope said Oct. 10 as part of the global TEDx Countdown on climate change.

The event, broadcast live on YouTube, featured more than 50 speakers from around the world presenting “actionable and research-backed ideas, cutting-edge science, and moments of wonder and inspiration,” according to the program description.

[…]

“Science tells us, every day more precisely, that we need to act urgently — I am not exaggerating — this is what science tells us, if we are to have any hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change,” he said. “This is a scientific fact.”

As he did in his 2015 encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’”, on Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis insisted in his TEDx talk that concern for the environment must go hand in hand with concern for the people who live on the Earth, especially the poor, who are most impacted by climate change and natural disasters.

People must make a choice “between what matters and what does not, a choice between continuing to ignore the suffering of the poorest and mistreating our common home, the Earth,” he said, or “commit ourselves at every level to transforming the way we act.”

While science insists on the need to change to protect the planet, he said, “our conscience tells us that we cannot be indifferent to the suffering of the poorest, to growing economic inequalities and social injustices.”

[…]

The pope explained that the “integral ecology” he has called for — responding to the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth — requires seeing how “everything in the world is connected and that, as the pandemic has reminded us, we are interdependent on one another, and also dependent on our mother Earth.”

Presenting a three-part action plan, the pope said change must begin with “education for the care of our common home, developing the understanding that environmental problems are linked to human needs — we must understand this from the very beginning: Environmental problems are linked to human needs.”

So, he said, education must include both scientific data and ethics.

Next, he said, priority should be given to water and food, ensuring access to safe drinking water and adequate food for all the world’s people.

“The third proposal is that of energy transition: a progressive replacement, but without delay, of fossil fuels with clean energy sources,” he said. “This transition must not only be rapid and capable of meeting present and future energy needs, but also must be attentive to its impact on the on the poor, on local populations and on those who work in the sector of energy production.”

Socially responsible investing and stockholder activism, he said, can make companies see “the unavoidable need to commit themselves to the integral care of the common home.”

The pope recommended divesting from stock in “companies that do not meet the criteria of integral ecology and rewarding those that are making concrete efforts in this transition phase to put at the center of their activities criteria such as sustainability, social justice and the promotion of the common good.”

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:24 am

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Bishop: Francis expressed ‘dramatic concern’ over Germany’s ‘synodal path’ [In-Depth]
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A priest blesses people with holy water during Mass in late June at a church in Bonn, Germany. (Credit: Harald Oppitz,/KNA via CNS)

A German bishop says Pope Francis expressed a “dramatic concern” over the Catholic Church in Germany and its “synodal path” of reform that began last year, which could include reviewing “taboo” issues such as priestly celibacy and a female priesthood.

Francis comments were reported made at Wednesday’s general audience during a conversation with Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen, the retired bishop of Fulda.

Algermissen spoke on the phone with German newspaper Fuldaer Zeitung after meeting the pope.

Francis, the bishop said, expressed with “clear words and dramatic concern” his views on the “synodal path” — a process of reform launched by the German Catholic church bringing together German lay people and bishops to discuss four major topics: The way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women in ministries and offices in the Church.

[…]

However, Pope Francis warned Catholics in Germany last year not to attempt to go their own way, because they don’t walk alone but with the universal Church.

According to Algermissen, Francis mentioned his letter to the “pilgrim people of God in Germany” during their conversation, and regretted the fact that it was widely ignored by German dioceses. The German bishop says the pontiff would want the church to focus on evangelizing an increasingly secularized country, and is instead focusing on “political issues,” such as women priests and celibacy.

In the letter penned in June 2019, Francis also reminds the Germans that a “structural” reform, simply changing to adapt to modern times, is not a solution.

The Church’s raison d’etre, Francis wrote, is that God “so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that all who believe in him may not die but may have eternal Life.”

In the letter, Francis argues that the transformation and revitalization sought after with a synod cannot simply be a “reaction to external data or demands,” including a drop in births and aging communities.

Though these are “valid concerns,” Francis wrote, seen outside the ecclesial mystery they could cause a reactionary attitude. Believing that solutions are purely structural, he argued, is “one of the first great temptations at the ecclesial level.”

“Without having the Gospel as its soul,” Francis wrote, a well-organized and even modernized ecclesial body could become a “gaseous” Christianity that has no evangelical zeal.

“Each time the ecclesial community tries to leave its problems alone and focuses exclusively on its forces or its methods, its intelligence, its will or prestige, it ends up increasing and perpetuating the evils it was trying to solve,” Francis said.

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:47 am

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Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129

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Catholic pacifists praise pope's move away from just war theory [In-Depth]
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Katerina Izvekova, 77, inside her home damaged during a military conflict between militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Ukrainian armed forces in late July (CNS/Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko)

Vatican City — The leaders of an international movement seeking to have the Catholic Church formally set aside its long-held teachings on just war theory are praising Pope Francis' new encyclical Fratelli Tutti, which said it is "very difficult" to invoke the theory today because of the brutality of modern combat.

Former and current presidents of Pax Christi International, which has co-hosted two conferences with the Vatican over the past four years focused on helping the church move away from the just war tradition, say the pope's document makes substantial progress toward their goal.

"I feel like what he was doing was moving the just war tradition further and further into the background, to put it on the shelf, where it belongs," said Marie Dennis, who served as a co-president of Pax Christi from 2007 to 2019. "It was progress in a very real way."

Dennis, who organized the 2016 and 2019 conferences in conjunction with the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, told NCR that she thinks Francis is laying the ground for the church to eventually remove all support for the just war theory.

Loreto Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira, a current Pax Christi co-president, called the pope's words in Fratelli Tutti "a shift to a new way of thinking." Wachira, a Kenyan who attended both of the Vatican conferences, said the pontiff is saying simply that "war has failed.

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Loreto Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira of Nairobi, Kenya (CNS/Pax Christi International)

"For me, he's not mincing his words," said Wachira, a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "He's kind of inviting us to think different and to act differently."

Others who took part in the Vatican events spoke even more bluntly.

"It is certainly a strong negative statement on the viability of the just war theory in our day and age," said Terrence Rynne, a theologian who took part in both conferences and is also an NCR board member. "He throws it, to all intents and purposes, in the ash can."

San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, who took part in the 2019 conference, noted that Francis gave a fairly lengthy reflection on issues of war in peace in Fratelli Tutti but never gave an instance where war might be justifiable.

"Given this reality, in tandem with the teachings of Pope Benedict, it is hard not to conclude that the church is abandoning the just war framework and seeking to construct a new moral framework that has not yet emerged," McElroy told NCR.

"A comprehensive dedication to international norms and the power of nonviolence to achieve peace with justice will no doubt be central to this framework," said the bishop.

[…]

The just war theory was first referred to by fourth-century bishop St. Augustine of Hippo and uses a series of criteria to evaluate whether use of violence can be considered morally justifiable.

In Fratelli Tutti, Francis says that nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and new technological combat systems "have granted war an uncontrollable destructive power over great numbers of innocent civilians."

"We can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits," states the pontiff. "In view of this, it is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a 'just war.' "

In a footnote to the above paragraph, the pontiff appears to go a bit further, stating that Augustine "forged a concept of 'just war' that we no longer uphold in our own day."

[…]

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Marie Dennis near Capitol Hill in Washington May 21, 2018 (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:37 pm

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Dubious Suspicions: My Journey Back to Pope Francis [In-Depth, Opinion]
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I offer here a sketch of someone caught in the eddies of our time. A sketch because it is not complete; I am still in the midst of confusion and uncertainty. But something of an outline is taking shape, and Where Peter Is is providing that form, however hazy it still is to me.

I grew up Presbyterian, but I read broadly in the Protestant tradition. I read Calvin’s Institutes and I experienced the liberating effect of Luther’s sola fide. Sola scriptura was bedrock. At one point in college, I would have been happy living in the basement of a church reflecting on holy writ. When I went to college, had you asked me, I would have not been sure if Catholics were in fact Christians.

There was, however, an undercurrent, fed by my love of literature and my experience of nature. It became my own personal sturm und drang, and it pulled at the threads of my certainties from a fairly early age. If Descartes had his theoretical demon, I had mine who constantly asked whether I was too certain, too clear on what I believed. I would ask whether the Book of Romans really was the prism through which the entire Bible should be read. And I secretly fed and cherished this uncertainty, waiting and wondering if there would ever come a time when it would devour everything I held close.

This oscillating between certainty and a type of desire to see-it-all-burn stayed with me into college. At times I was physically paralyzed with doubt. Luther may have seen the maw of Satan in the outhouse, but for me it was the Nothing that terrified me. After a year or two of suffering through this cycle of doubt and depression, however, my demon — my postmodern hermeneutic of suspicion — began doing something odd. Like many of its offspring, it was turning cannibalistic.

I recall the moment I started becoming suspicious of my suspicion. It was between classes and I was walking from one colonial building to another. It was fall. I was wearing sandals. And I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and looked up at the empty sky. For a moment, it seemed as if the sky parted. It wasn’t like it was being torn, but more like the lifting of a wedding veil. A wave of fresh air flooded me. C.S. Lewis would call it a moment of joy. At the time, and even now reflecting on it, I would say that there was no content to this revelation. It was more the removal of a blockage, as if some plaque had built up in my soul and a sudden rush of blood had dislodged and dispersed it.

It was shortly after this that a friend of mine gave me a cassette recording of Thomas Merton delivering talks to the other monks at Gethsemane. …

[…]

My pilgrimage to the Church was paved with books. In other words, I read my way into the Church. Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton, and John Henry Newman each played their part, as well as my studies in the Christian mystics and scripture. Von Balthasar was a veritable bludgeon who raised the final bastions of defense. I wouldn’t say my entry into the Church was not affective. By and large, however, it was not communal.

[…]

Then came Francis. At first, I was delighted, as were all my the influential Catholics I followed. He was a breath of (vibrant) fresh air. He was from the emerging southern hemisphere! He spoke forthrightly. He radiated joy. And, crucially for me, he took Ratzinger’s encyclical and adopted it as his own. It was not long, though, before my sources started to express hesitancy. Francis had said something on a plane about abortion that seemed to sideline its importance as the central social justice issue. Then he seemed to disparage us Catholics who had more than 2.5 children (I have five). Did he accuse us of mating like rabbits? It was discouraging, but it wasn’t concerning to me. Over the next few years, though, things started going downhill. Genuine concern began with his cardinal and bishop appointments. They were not the right appointments. For me, this is when a first inkling of some other “agenda” was at play. The pope who stressed dialogue seemed to be stacking the deck and creating a monologic echo-chamber. My sources told me there were priests and bishops who were concerned but felt like they could not express themselves without retribution. Apparently, Francis had a temper.

And then, not speaking metaphorically, all hell broke loose. All suspicions were confirmed. The Church was sliding into heterodoxy, if not heresy. And it was all because of a footnote and a Pope who seemed to agree with many scientists that man was at least playing a significant role in the planet’s warming. It was then that the split occurred, and a narrative was born, at least for me. My sources told me the Germans were coming. It was their fault. Strawmen were being burned alive. The Pope had an inner circle of advisors and “yes men” who hated America and everything it stood for. I read some of their comments about America and, well, my sources had a point.

[…]

Looking back on it now, I can see more clearly why. There were deep fissures opening up, at least in America. The Pope was being criticized and a business mogul who, in my opinion, was a moral slug running for President. But — I was told — he would stack the judiciary. And, after all, there were (freaking) nuns being asked to fund contraceptives. As to the Church, if the Pope was held in suspicion, then we just go bishop shopping. Thank goodness for Bishop Barron. As far as I was concerned, he was my Pope now, and I would start cobbling together my own magisterium (this was my own form of “cafeteria Catholicism”).

[…]

Today, I look back and wonder what I did or did not do that contributed to my own slide in this direction. Was my political stance a crabbed Americanism that focused on family values and abortion? Perhaps my drift came about because I thought if I moved left on an issue like the environment or labor or immigration, I may be sapping strength away from those fighting for unborn babies. And so I gave lip-service to those issues, but, in the end, that is all I did. But if that is the case, does that mean that I’ve traded the politics of the heavenly kingdom for those of Pilate? The Left is no home for me either, though, and it never will be.

[…]

In the end, I do believe something dark and beyond our reckoning is trying to be born, and it is gestating in both the Left and the Right. And that so much of what we are experiencing today are its birth pangs. And I wonder if, like Jeremiah, we should admit that the reason nothing seems to be working from the national to the local level is because we are being pulled into exile. And that the flames of that exile are our passions that God is handing us over to in the expectation that something small but vibrant will come from the rubble.

[…]

And in this I will add to the list of my own sins — a failure of trust. A failure to trust that Peter was truly renamed, such that his new identity would not be purely his own, nor could it ever be grasped from a purely mundane perspective. Rather, Peter’s new identity is one wed to the resurrected power of Christ.

As I wondered to a friend the other weekend, we want clarity, but we want clarity in the way the world offers it. And if we are heading into exile (and, aren’t we all just sojourners anyway?), perhaps the clarity we should be striving for is the simplicity of Jesus the Christ, and the promises he made. And that is something I hear Pope Francis saying, over and over.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:44 am

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Pope repeats call to divert funds from military to fighting hunger
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Women are pictured in a file photo preparing ceviche at the Fish Market in Panama City. Pope Francis addressed the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Oct. 16, 2020, World Food Day. (Credit: Bob Roller/CNS)

ROME — Repeating a call first made by St. Paul VI, Pope Francis urged a global move to divert money from national military spending and use it to “definitely defeat hunger.”

Addressing representatives of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Oct. 16, World Food Day, Pope Francis seemed to go a step further than St. Paul VI, who — in his 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio — asked “world leaders to set aside part of their military expenditures for a world fund to relieve the needs of impoverished peoples.”

Pope Francis, in his recent encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”, on Fraternity and Social Friendship and in his video message to the FAO, said that “a courageous decision would be to use the money spent on arms and other military expenditures to constitute a ‘Global Fund’ so that we can definitively defeat hunger and help the development of the poorest countries.”

As the U.N. agency celebrated its 75th anniversary, Pope Francis told staff and members, “Your mission is beautiful and important, because you are working to defeat hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.”

The task is getting more difficult, he said.

“Unfortunately,” the pope said, “we note that, according to the most recent statistics from the FAO, despite the efforts made in recent decades, the number of people facing hunger and food insecurity has grown and is growing, and the current pandemic will further exacerbate these figures.”

“For humanity, hunger is not just a tragedy, but a shame,” he said.

“For the most part, it is caused by an unequal distribution of the fruits of the earth,” the pope said. In addition, a lack of investment in agriculture, climate change and conflict all make the situation worse.

“Faced with this reality, we cannot remain insensitive or paralyzed,” he said. “We are all responsible.”

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: I'm Starting to Like This Pope

Post by wosbald » Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:35 am

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Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129

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A New Pacem in Terris [In-Depth, Opinion]
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Credit: Adobe Stock

========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

This article has been translated into English and published on Where Peter Is with the permission of the author. It was first published in Italian in L’Osservatore Romano with the title, "Una nuova 'Pacem in terris'".

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Fratelli Tutti, the newly-published encyclical, must be read carefully to be properly understood. We must avoid the risk of trivialization that focuses on two or three points and reduces the document to little more than a series of pious intentions. First of all, we must understand the perspective from which it is written: that of a world that is headed towards war. Popes do not write encyclicals on fraternity for a peaceful world. John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris came out after the Cuban missile crisis, which brought us to the brink of a third world war. This is not the case today, fortunately. And yet it is undeniable that problems including the crisis of globalization, the increasingly persistent tension between nations (United States, China, Russia), ongoing wars fought through intermediaries, and religious terrorism create a highly unstable world, ready to flare up at any time. Add to that our enormous economic inequality, the tragedy of COVID (and its repercussions on the poorest countries), and immigration.

Since the epochal change of 1989, we have seen the buttresses and counterweights that humanity worked hard to build after the terrible tragedy of the Second World War progressively crumble: from the great international organizations, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the European unification process. Everything is decomposing: the UN, the EU, and the ties between the US and Europe. Meanwhile, cultural relativism continues to exalt partisanship and isolationism. The spirit of the times has brought Manichaeism back into vogue in several forms: political, economic, and religious. New barriers, ancient grudges, and old nationalisms are arising everywhere.

It is in this context that Francis introduces his dream of a renewed fraternity — religious, political, economic, and social — between peoples and individuals. A dream like that of Martin Luther King, whose name is mentioned at the end of the document alongside those of St. Francis, Gandhi, Desmond Tutu, and Charles de Foucauld. “I have a dream.” This is not a naive surrender to a utopian spirit or humanistic philanthropy, as the pope’s critics complain. Francis is a realist who understands St. Augustine’s criticism of political theology perfectly well — the confusion between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of men. He is a realist, however, who knows that realism — in order to avoid crossing into cynicism — must take the risk of reaching out towards the ideal, must be open to hope. The Christian is a person of hope and not of resignation. Authentic realism is real-idealism. This is why today Fratelli Tutti represents a powerful rock in the swamp of ideas, of politics, of a stagnant faith.

The encyclical is addressed to “addressed to all people of good will, regardless of their religious convictions” (FT 56), but it is undeniable that Christians, particularly Catholics, are among those to whom this letter is primarily directed. Many of these, far from being protagonists of change, are part of the problem today — part of that political-religious Manichaeism that characterizes the present moment. They too participate, often without being aware, in the great wind of history. In the 1970s the wind blew to the left, to the encounter with and subordination of Christianity to Marxism. Since the fall of communism, the spirit of the world has turned to the right. Thus, at this moment, as we face an abstract and often violent economic globalization dominated by an unscrupulous neocapitalism, there is a populist reaction. We see the re-emergence of political-religious nationalisms and the territorialization of religion reduced to ethnicity. We see fundamentalism and terrorism in the name of God.

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I offer one final observation that will help avoid hasty readings and misunderstandings of the document. This encyclical provides a response to those who in recent years have accused the Pope of philanthropism, irenism, and humanism — those who say he has separated Mercy and Truth. It would benefit them to begin by reading the document’s final chapters, from the sixth chapter forward. As with Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate, we can observe here that dialogue is firmly anchored to the idea of ​​truth. This is an objective truth — the only kind that allows the rational recognition of a unique and universal human nature — as opposed to the relativism dominant in today’s culture.

Truth, justice, and mercy cannot be separated. The Pope thus responds to his right-wing critics who have not ceased to attack him, beginning with Amoris Laetitia. He provides an answer that does not hesitate (in the eighth chapter, dedicated to dialogue between religions) to quote the “memorable statement” from John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus: “If there is no transcendent truth, in obedience to which man achieves his full identity, then there is no sure principle for guaranteeing just relations between people.” (273). He does not hesitate, above all, to highlight how Christian identity is an essential factor in fraternal dialogue with everyone. For this reason, while appreciating God’s action in other religions, “we Christians are very much aware that ‘if the music of the Gospel ceases to resonate in our very being, we will lose the joy born of compassion, the tender love born of trust, the capacity for reconciliation that has its source in our knowledge that we have been forgiven and sent forth. If the music of the Gospel ceases to sound in our homes, our public squares, our workplaces, our political and financial life, then we will no longer hear the strains that challenge us to defend the dignity of every man and woman.’” (277).

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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